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Marriageology: The Art and Science of Staying Together

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A smart and concise guide to staying together that draws on scientific findings, expert advice, and years in the marital trenches to explain why marriage is better for your health, your finances, your kids, and your happiness Like you, probably, Belinda Luscombe would rather have had her eyes put out than read a book about marriage; they all seemed full of advice that was o A smart and concise guide to staying together that draws on scientific findings, expert advice, and years in the marital trenches to explain why marriage is better for your health, your finances, your kids, and your happiness Like you, probably, Belinda Luscombe would rather have had her eyes put out than read a book about marriage; they all seemed full of advice that was obvious, useless, or bad. Plus they were boring. But after covering the relationship beat for Time magazine for ten years, she realized there was a surprisingly upbeat and little-known story to tell about the benefits of staying together for the long haul. Casting a witty, candid, and probing eye on the latest behavioral science, Luscombe has written a fresh and persuasive report on the state of our unions, how they've changed from the marriages of our parents' era, and what those changes mean for the happiness of this most intimate and important of our relationships. In Marriageology Luscombe examines the six major fault lines that can fracture contemporary marriages, also known as the F-words: familiarity, fighting, finances, family, fooling around, and finding help. She presents facts, debunks myths, and provides a fascinating mix of research, anecdotes, and wisdom from a wide range of approaches--from how properly dividing up chores can result in a better sex life to the benefits of fighting with your spouse (though not in the car) to whether or not to tell your partner that you lost $70,000. (The last one is from firsthand experience.) Marriageology offers simple, actionable, maybe even borderline fun techniques and tips to try, whether the relationship in question is about to conk out or just needs a little grease and an oil change. The best news of all is that sticking together is easier than it looks. Praise for Marriageology "Few things are more important than the quality of our relationships--and especially the one we build with our life partners. Belinda Luscombe has written a smart and funny book to help anyone work toward a stronger and more fulfilling marriage."--Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and founder of LeanIn.Org and OptionB.Org "I'd recommend this book to anyone who is married. Or thinking of getting married. Or knows anyone who is married. Or who is simply interested in getting along with other human beings. Belinda Luscombe combines science, memoir, and sharp wit in this fascinating and useful book. She takes on myths about everything from soul mates to finance to going to bed angry (her advice: Do it!). Skip the gravy boat and give this as a gift to all your engaged friends."--A. J. Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically


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A smart and concise guide to staying together that draws on scientific findings, expert advice, and years in the marital trenches to explain why marriage is better for your health, your finances, your kids, and your happiness Like you, probably, Belinda Luscombe would rather have had her eyes put out than read a book about marriage; they all seemed full of advice that was o A smart and concise guide to staying together that draws on scientific findings, expert advice, and years in the marital trenches to explain why marriage is better for your health, your finances, your kids, and your happiness Like you, probably, Belinda Luscombe would rather have had her eyes put out than read a book about marriage; they all seemed full of advice that was obvious, useless, or bad. Plus they were boring. But after covering the relationship beat for Time magazine for ten years, she realized there was a surprisingly upbeat and little-known story to tell about the benefits of staying together for the long haul. Casting a witty, candid, and probing eye on the latest behavioral science, Luscombe has written a fresh and persuasive report on the state of our unions, how they've changed from the marriages of our parents' era, and what those changes mean for the happiness of this most intimate and important of our relationships. In Marriageology Luscombe examines the six major fault lines that can fracture contemporary marriages, also known as the F-words: familiarity, fighting, finances, family, fooling around, and finding help. She presents facts, debunks myths, and provides a fascinating mix of research, anecdotes, and wisdom from a wide range of approaches--from how properly dividing up chores can result in a better sex life to the benefits of fighting with your spouse (though not in the car) to whether or not to tell your partner that you lost $70,000. (The last one is from firsthand experience.) Marriageology offers simple, actionable, maybe even borderline fun techniques and tips to try, whether the relationship in question is about to conk out or just needs a little grease and an oil change. The best news of all is that sticking together is easier than it looks. Praise for Marriageology "Few things are more important than the quality of our relationships--and especially the one we build with our life partners. Belinda Luscombe has written a smart and funny book to help anyone work toward a stronger and more fulfilling marriage."--Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and founder of LeanIn.Org and OptionB.Org "I'd recommend this book to anyone who is married. Or thinking of getting married. Or knows anyone who is married. Or who is simply interested in getting along with other human beings. Belinda Luscombe combines science, memoir, and sharp wit in this fascinating and useful book. She takes on myths about everything from soul mates to finance to going to bed angry (her advice: Do it!). Skip the gravy boat and give this as a gift to all your engaged friends."--A. J. Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically

30 review for Marriageology: The Art and Science of Staying Together

  1. 5 out of 5

    Genevieve Trono

    Marriageology was such a fascinating read on marriage and long term relationships. Luscombe's writing was approachable with the perfect mix of scientific research, personal stories, and advice. I found myself nodding along so many times with her anecdotes regarding her own marriage history. She shares a wonderful perspective that is relatable yet also hopeful. Her ability to share the hardships of some of the biggest stumbling blocks of marriage was super accessible. She points out the 6 major Marriageology was such a fascinating read on marriage and long term relationships. Luscombe's writing was approachable with the perfect mix of scientific research, personal stories, and advice. I found myself nodding along so many times with her anecdotes regarding her own marriage history. She shares a wonderful perspective that is relatable yet also hopeful. Her ability to share the hardships of some of the biggest stumbling blocks of marriage was super accessible. She points out the 6 major "fault lines" that can fracture a marriage and how to navigate them personally and as a couple. Like many non-fiction books, certain chapters stood out to me more and I especially connected with the commentary and research she shared in the parenting section, it was spot on. I also am so happy she talked about how helpful therapy can be, and not just at times of serious distress but also as a regular practice. I learned so much from this book and I highly recommend it for anyone that is navigating a long term relationship. Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing for a copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Casey Frank

    Thank you Random House for gifting me a copy of this book. As this book points out, marriage has changed over the years, and what was once more of an economical decision- a necessary choice in financial stability and family-rearing, is now one that comes with greater expectations of happiness and emotional intimacy. Which is why books like this are nice, concise way of shoring up those emotional needs. And it's done with a degree of humor. I liked that the book cited a lot of other studies and tex Thank you Random House for gifting me a copy of this book. As this book points out, marriage has changed over the years, and what was once more of an economical decision- a necessary choice in financial stability and family-rearing, is now one that comes with greater expectations of happiness and emotional intimacy. Which is why books like this are nice, concise way of shoring up those emotional needs. And it's done with a degree of humor. I liked that the book cited a lot of other studies and texts, allowing for a greater sample of information without needing to sit down with each academic piece. Though I am reading Come As You Are at the moment, and appreciated the brief summary of accelerators and breaks included in Luscombe's book. The only section that I personally didn't find to be helpful was "Family" because it was focused on raising children, which thus far, my husband and I have continued to choose to not have. I think one of the pieces that should have been included in this section is parents as establishing communication about expectations in handling aging parents is also a big component of many marriages, if not to the same degree of complications as raising children. The familiarity section was probably the one that held the most new material for me, or rather I may have felt more attuned to the idea as my husband and I have been in a relationship since I was 19 years old, and of the almost 15 years we've been together we've been married for six of those years, which means we're definitely living in some familiar territory and could benefit from tools to best navigate this familiarity. Overall I think this book could be a great book to give newlyweds to help set some expectations, and to help build the idea that it's better to do the maintenance work along the course of the partnership than to have to go and seek outside help once everything has gone wrong.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Leah Hester

    Got the audiobook on Audible, and deeply enjoyed the book and its authors fun, interesting take on marriage, how its changed, and how to make it last. I'm probably still considered a newlywed by most people (at the time of reading, I've been married for two and a half years) and I come from a family with a lot of divorcees. It's literally always felt like my job to have a damn good marriage lol. Luscombe is fantastically entertaining while also sharing real situations that spouses go through and Got the audiobook on Audible, and deeply enjoyed the book and its authors fun, interesting take on marriage, how its changed, and how to make it last. I'm probably still considered a newlywed by most people (at the time of reading, I've been married for two and a half years) and I come from a family with a lot of divorcees. It's literally always felt like my job to have a damn good marriage lol. Luscombe is fantastically entertaining while also sharing real situations that spouses go through and the research behind why those situations happen, as well as the best tools to fix them, or potentially recover from them. I listened to this super quick, and plan to incorporate some of her tools. She notes, and I will also note, that this is not a source for therapy help, but gives advice and tools for, largely, keeping communication up in the changing and unique relationship that is a long term marriage. This was entertaining, insightful, and thought-provoking, and I recommend for anyone who is married, wants to get married, or isn't married but just wants to learn about marriage in a fun, interesting way. I highly recommend the audio version, as the author herself gives the reading in the best possible way.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    I am a big fan of reading about marriage (and other topics) while things are going well. I feel like at moments like these, I am open to learning and receiving because I am not constantly triggered by what I might be upset about. So all potential ideas feel like options I can try out and use to strengthen my marriage. This book has both anecdotal stories and academic research and statistics. I would say that if your marriage is in trouble and you're reading this book for ideas, the tone might th I am a big fan of reading about marriage (and other topics) while things are going well. I feel like at moments like these, I am open to learning and receiving because I am not constantly triggered by what I might be upset about. So all potential ideas feel like options I can try out and use to strengthen my marriage. This book has both anecdotal stories and academic research and statistics. I would say that if your marriage is in trouble and you're reading this book for ideas, the tone might throw you off a bit. It's funny and jokey, not in a bad way but it might rub you the wrong way if you're hurting or angry. For me, I enjoyed this reminder of several different areas to pay attention to in my marriage and to always keep working on it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    This is an interesting catalogue of a bunch of other marriage advice books. I always think it's better to go to the source. In this case, try Esther Parel, Gottman, Alain Botton, etc.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kayle Barnes

    Wish I had read this before I got married, but glad I discovered it when I did. Luscombe is funny and blunt and treats Marriage with both importance and irreverence.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Vlad

    Hilarious, frank, reasonable. A bit broad, splashing about in the shallows rather than going deep on any one of its topics, from sex to child-rearing to arguing well. Good survey.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kristine

    Marriageology by Belinda Luscombe is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in mid-May. I had chosen to read this book while being in a long-term relationship after a divorce from my first husband eight years ago, so I have a touch-and-go history with being in a serious, monogamous partnership. This book brings up topics and concepts, like questioning yourself and admitting guilt & weakness at the end of a relationship, only to have to build up another from the very beginning, committing strongly Marriageology by Belinda Luscombe is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in mid-May. I had chosen to read this book while being in a long-term relationship after a divorce from my first husband eight years ago, so I have a touch-and-go history with being in a serious, monogamous partnership. This book brings up topics and concepts, like questioning yourself and admitting guilt & weakness at the end of a relationship, only to have to build up another from the very beginning, committing strongly to an informed choice, and seeking permanency amid a world that changes quickly and hangs onto things for only a short while. Luscombe draws research from ten years writing about marriage for Time magazine - this leads to nuggets to sociological truths buried under heaps of down-to-earth prattle and a pun, sarcasm, motto, or punchline every few sentences.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jacquelyne

    This book is solidly sourced with evidence-based research, but it isn't dry by any means. Luscombe has a great sense of humor that had me nodding my head and chuckling throughout the book. She helps break down the fault lines in a six-part alliteration that is easy to follow. I appreciated the marriage of a sociological and therapeutic approach, as well as her personal anecdotes relating the science to her her marriage, which helped tie in the research and advice to real life examples. Her crede This book is solidly sourced with evidence-based research, but it isn't dry by any means. Luscombe has a great sense of humor that had me nodding my head and chuckling throughout the book. She helps break down the fault lines in a six-part alliteration that is easy to follow. I appreciated the marriage of a sociological and therapeutic approach, as well as her personal anecdotes relating the science to her her marriage, which helped tie in the research and advice to real life examples. Her credentials speak for themselves and allow you as a reader to relax into the material trusting the advice is coming from a true expert, and Luscombe, I'm totally on your side about Armstrong! [I received an Advanced Readers Copy from Random House Publishing for my honest review.]

  10. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

    I'm not really one to read self help type books, but I saw this book and thought, why not give it a try. I sure am happy that I did! This book is written in a way that makes it both informative (with statistics and research) and also relate-able (with personal admissions and stories from the author). I feel like this book also offers some great tips and advice on how to achieve a happier union (which who doesn't want that!).

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jt O'Neill

    It's funny. When my spouse and I first got together a generation plus ago, we'd both had plenty of life experience. We both had graduate degrees, had worked successfully in our chosen fields, and had had romances and adventures. We considered ourselves people savvy. In retrospect, we were pretty cocky, thinking we knew how this whole marriage business was going to go. How bold, brave, and naive we were! In the introduction to Marriageology, Belinda Luscombe astutely points out the absurdity of h It's funny. When my spouse and I first got together a generation plus ago, we'd both had plenty of life experience. We both had graduate degrees, had worked successfully in our chosen fields, and had had romances and adventures. We considered ourselves people savvy. In retrospect, we were pretty cocky, thinking we knew how this whole marriage business was going to go. How bold, brave, and naive we were! In the introduction to Marriageology, Belinda Luscombe astutely points out the absurdity of how our culture celebrates marriage. There are all these special and exciting traditions for the early years of marriage but they taper off at 15 years where the gift is crystal, and then china at 20 yrs, and pearls at 30 years (which likely means that a man in the relationship does the giving and not the receiving). As Belinda says, this is all turned around. Any fool can be married for a year and you can get to three years on the fumes of the honeymoon alone. The marriage is challenged in those years when the wedding day memories are all stashed behind the kids' whining, the emails and calls from the bosses, childcare fails, the spouse's incessantly loud chewing, the financial failures and disagreements, the pressure from in-laws and the opinions from family -- when the wedding day excitement has tempered and the daily life has taken over. The thing is you just can't know this part of life. You haven't been there yet. Like my spouse and I, you might think you can plan a wedding and keep that wonderful, excited feeling that you have found a friend for life. At that point you are walking mostly on air and assuming that the climate will not change. But, guess what? Everything changes. Life changes people and certainly marriage changes people. You just can't know at the beginning how those changes are going to go. You haven't had this experience with this partner. No matter what your experience has been, no matter how well intentioned, I guarantee you things will change. It's how you deal with the change that will make all the difference in the marriage. I enjoyed reading Marriageology. Belinda's book is well researched and documented and could read like a textbook. Instead, though, it reads like a good friend, someone who is sitting with you over margaritas and nachos. She has important things to say but they come encased in warmth and a sense of humor. She's been there and she is willing to tell her stories too. I'd recommend this book to anyone who is married or even thinking of getting married. I like that Belinda believes in marriage. That is not to say that she is down on divorce but more to say that her hope and faith in the institution shine through. Toward the end she draws a comparison to a carousel: "What we often need [to sustain a marriage] is a carousel mentality; sometimes your horse is down, but if you wait awhile, it will rise again." Kudos to Belinda Luscombe for writing an authentic, often humorous, down to earth, and well researched book on a tough topic. 5 stars

  12. 4 out of 5

    BriZen

    This is the first book on marriage that I’ve read. I don’t have much for a frame of reference but I really enjoyed it. I thought it was witty and entertaining (I read half and listened to the last half, either way those adjectives apply). It was also packed with useful and relevant information for committed couples at every stage in their relationship. It was a quick read, just over two hundred pages and I think worth the time. If you’re early on in your marriage, it could save you from some hea This is the first book on marriage that I’ve read. I don’t have much for a frame of reference but I really enjoyed it. I thought it was witty and entertaining (I read half and listened to the last half, either way those adjectives apply). It was also packed with useful and relevant information for committed couples at every stage in their relationship. It was a quick read, just over two hundred pages and I think worth the time. If you’re early on in your marriage, it could save you from some heartache, if you’re having trouble it could help shed some light on what to do next. It’s full of great references too, one of which I’ve already started. Pick it up, you won’t regret it!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    5 stars just for being a book on marriage that’s actually enjoyable to read! Luscombe is genuinely funny, and her humor and light yet serious treatment of the subject makes it pleasurable to read. I was a little worried that all her personal examples were going to be silly disagreements between her and her husband, but then I got to the chapter where she talks about how they almost got a divorce and went to therapy, and I was gratified that the author is someone who has truly gone through hard t 5 stars just for being a book on marriage that’s actually enjoyable to read! Luscombe is genuinely funny, and her humor and light yet serious treatment of the subject makes it pleasurable to read. I was a little worried that all her personal examples were going to be silly disagreements between her and her husband, but then I got to the chapter where she talks about how they almost got a divorce and went to therapy, and I was gratified that the author is someone who has truly gone through hard times in her marriage and was able to not only make things work, but make them better. That lends her advice a lot more weight, in my opinion.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Nate Hawthorne

    3.5 stars. Not that my marriage is in trouble, but it is good to have strategies to make sure nothing bad happens. It is pretty straightforward and common sense. The chapter about fighting gave insight on the reasons we defend our positions. Told in an accessible and humorous way, there is something for everyone to relate to.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    With chapters on familiarity,fighting,finances,family,fooling around,and finding help: you can't go wrong with this book. I especially loved the chapter on familiarity,and the three dozen questions for intimacy.Whether you have been married for 50 years,or still dating.....value your relationship by studying up on marriage.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Monica Pasillas

    Something inside me doesn't want this book to influence/affect my marriage life since it's my very first 'marriage' book I've read, but I learned some very interested facts along the way. And surprisingly I already knew some, but not quite given them the 'hard thought' they deserved. Do recommend this book though.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Hayley Jones

    Jen Hatmaker recommended this book, so I read this book. The author, Belinda Luscombe, covers relationships for Time Magazine and does a great job combining behavioral science, research, and humorous life experiences in this fun and quick read on the challenges and benefits of marriage and how to keep yours healthy.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Shannon Enloe

    Holy blow your socks off Batman! This should be required reading for every single person in the history of ever! Seriously. Married or not. But maybe like yearly required reading if you’re married! 👏🏼👏🏼 So good! So insightful! So. Freaking. ACCURATE!

  19. 4 out of 5

    booksandcarbs

    This isn’t really an advice book — more an engaging overview of an important topic (maintaining a healthy, happy marriage) — I enjoyed the combination of research and anecdote!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    3.5 I liked the first half of the book better, perhaps because I found it more applicable to me personally. But overall, some great reminders and insights.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nandini

    Breezy read but has several nuggets of wisdom.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    This is one of those books that gives you 20 more books to read. It was a quick read in and of itself though.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Bryan Summers

    Good advice. Fascinating stuff. I can't wait for my wife to read it. I think she will like it a lot.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Erica Albert

    More talk of sex than I expected, but that isn’t a negative comment.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Musi Salerno

    Enjoyed the science and fact based evidence of it! Easy to read and easier to spot things we’ve already done and how to change them!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Forbes

    Best book on marriage I’ve read to date.

  27. 4 out of 5

    John Hewitt II

    Good book for all couples to read wherever they are on their marriage journey

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mary Dickerson

    *I received an advanced digital copy with the purpose of reviewing this book. Description by publisher: A smart and concise guide to staying together that draws on scientific findings, expert advice, and years in the marital trenches to explain why marriage is better for your health, your finances, your kids, and your happiness. Very useful information, and sprinkled with a little bit of marriage humor here and there. I was giggling and chuckling at the various jokes. The book presents advice from *I received an advanced digital copy with the purpose of reviewing this book. Description by publisher: A smart and concise guide to staying together that draws on scientific findings, expert advice, and years in the marital trenches to explain why marriage is better for your health, your finances, your kids, and your happiness. Very useful information, and sprinkled with a little bit of marriage humor here and there. I was giggling and chuckling at the various jokes. The book presents advice from a psycological and sociological standpoint, but also shares anectodal information in the form of personal stories. The author states than names where changed, but the stories remain intact. Is a perfect mix of science, advice, and personal storiles that you can relate to. Marriageology examines six faults as the main marriage trouble makers, and provides advice to each of them. Depening on where you are in your marriage, you will be using this book differently. If you're reading this before any major problems, you can use the book to prevent them. If you're already experiencing trouble, then this book can give you advice about how to act, or at least where to look for help. As sometimes therapy will be needed, or marriage counseling that needs to go beyong the teachings of a book, and advice has to be tailored to your speciphic needs or issues. I would recommend this book to anyone married or about to marry. Don't wait to have troubles, work on them before theiy appear!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sarahbscc

    Marriageology was a great book, I thought it had a lot of good advice and I especially enjoyed the author relating it back to her life. If you didn’t know, her husband is an architect 😁 but you’ll learn more about that in the book. It was nice to read a book that is relatable, it helps to realize that you’re not the only person going through things and you’re not crazy. Each chapter focused on different aspects of marriage, how to navigate the differences and relate to one another, to reach a pl Marriageology was a great book, I thought it had a lot of good advice and I especially enjoyed the author relating it back to her life. If you didn’t know, her husband is an architect 😁 but you’ll learn more about that in the book. It was nice to read a book that is relatable, it helps to realize that you’re not the only person going through things and you’re not crazy. Each chapter focused on different aspects of marriage, how to navigate the differences and relate to one another, to reach a pleasing compromise. This book isn’t preachy and the author isn’t an “expert” in marriage, it’s her advice and experiences and I like that approach. I would recommend this book to anyone who needs a little reassurance that marriage is hard but worth it and here is an entertaining, realistic approach on how to navigate the bumpy road of marriage.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Whittaker

    Thank you NetGalley and Random House for the advance reader copy of Marriageology! I loved this book! In Marriageology, Belinda Luscombe gives marital advice based on significant, credible research. Normally this would seem boring, and even Luscombe admits that the last thing she would want to read is another book about marriage. But what makes Marriageology different is that Luscombe includes humor and personal anecdotes about her own marriage, making the book more relatable. Instead of feeling Thank you NetGalley and Random House for the advance reader copy of Marriageology! I loved this book! In Marriageology, Belinda Luscombe gives marital advice based on significant, credible research. Normally this would seem boring, and even Luscombe admits that the last thing she would want to read is another book about marriage. But what makes Marriageology different is that Luscombe includes humor and personal anecdotes about her own marriage, making the book more relatable. Instead of feeling preached at by someone who has a perfect marriage, I found myself laughing and nodding along as I read Marriageology; it felt like I was talking to a friend about marriage instead of relationship expert. Not only does Luscombe talk about marriage, but she gives concrete tips on how to improve your own marriage. The book is broken into six parts that coincide with the six issues most marriages face: Familiarity, Fighting, Finances, Family, Fooling Around and Finding Help. Each section includes research, plenty of examples, and concrete ideas on how to make things better. I love that each section targets an issue that every married couple has or will face in the future, which means this is a book that I'll come back to time and time again when I need marriage advice. Marriageology is a well-written, well-researched, and insightful read. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is married, engaged, in a serious relationship, or wants to have any of these things in the near future.

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